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Resident Life

Assuring that each resident has a high quality of life is an extremely high priority for our program. We believe that managing stress and maintaining a healthy life outside of residency improves residents' ability to learn and to care for patients most effectively.

Rochester is a wonderfully livable community. It is a mid-sized city that offers a great range of cultural activities, including an incredible music scene (in part because of the presence of the Eastman School of Music); numerous festivals, including the annual Jazz Festival and the Lilac Festival; a large number of outstanding restaurants; and great public school systems. At the same time, the cost of living is very low (many residents own houses), and traffic and commute times are minimal. It takes literally minutes to go from anywhere in Rochester to one of the beautiful parks in the greater Rochester area or to get outside of town to enjoy an enormous range of outdoor activities in the Finger Lakes region, including skiing, wine tasting, and spectacular hikes (such as along the gorges in Letchworth Park and Watkins Glen). Links with additional information about living in Rochester are to the right.

A common misconception is that the weather in Rochester is bad. In fact, winters are less cold than in many other cities, with an average high temperature in January (the coldest month) of 32 degrees F; sure we get snow, but many residents embrace and celebrate the snow, which offers great skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding options. The spring, summer and fall are all wonderfully enjoyable.

Residency Program Culture

The internal medicine residency programs at the University of Rochester are known for their supportiveness. Residents come together to help each other in and out of work in a culture rooted in support and collegiality rather than competitiveness. Ours is a culture of inclusion where resident wellness and work-life balance are prioritized.

Residency Program Life Balance

The residency program offers a variety of different types of programs to try to help residents cope with the stresses of residency and to improve their residency experience:

  • Monthly business meetings: each month we bring together residents during a noon conference to address challenges faced by the residents and the residency program. These meetings allow open forum discussions of whatever is on our residents' minds.
  • Mentoring/Balint Groups: Starting this year, a small group of residents will meet each ambulatory block with a single, senior faculty member with experience facilitating group discussions. The group of ~8 residents, a mixture of R1s, R2s, and R3s, will discuss challenges they face as physicians, whether difficult patient interactions they faced (in a Balint-type discussion) or topics relating to challenges we face as physicians, such as coping with work-life balance challenges, navigating stressful conversations, career decision-making, and fatigue/burnout mitigation. The faculty members are outside of residency program leadership, creating a “safe space” for confidential discussions to occur. The faculty member and group of residents will be consistent from year to year (aside from graduating R3s and entering R1s each year), which will allow for comfort and trust to grow in the group and for faculty and peer-mentoring relationships to form.
  • Class meetings: we bring each resident class together separately several times per year to listen to how they are doing and to what types of problems they are encountering in residency. These sessions often lead to improvements in the program.
  • New resident orientation: in addition to required training (such as for our electronic medical record) and education about policies and procedures, we build a number of fun social and team-building events into our new residents' orientation in an effort to help our new interns get to know each other quickly and to begin to see Rochester as their home.
  • R2 skills block: between the end of intern year and the start of their second year of residency, all categorical and research pathway residents are provided coverage for a 2-day period in which a number of high yield topics are taught, including how to lead a floor team, how to teach on the wards, providing effective consultation, and additional procedural and code training. In addition we put all of our rising R2s through a two-day fundamentals of critical care course.
  • R3 career and fellowship guidance: towards the end of their second year and in the beginning of their third year, residents are invited to attend sessions about applying to fellowship, searching for and applying for jobs, and negotiating contracts.


Residency Program Social Events

Our residents enjoy each others' company inside and outside the hospital. Their schedule allows them to take advantage of the many activities that Rochester and the surrounding region has to offer.

  • Fare-Thee-Welcome Picnic: Each year, after the new PGY1's arrive for orientation and before the graduating PGY3's leave, program faculty, residents, spouses, significant others and families get together to say hello and goodbye.
  • Program Organized Happy Hour/Social Functions: Of course our residents socialize together frequently. In addition, the program organizes a few extra social events to bring residents and program faculty together outside of work. Good food is always part of the fun...
  • R1 Retreat: In late September all first-year residents are excused from rotations for a day-long retreat held at beautiful Letchworth State Park, south of Rochester.
  • Department of Medicine Holiday Party: In early January, the department provides coverage for every resident to attend this epic party with fabulous food and lots of dancing.
  • R2 Dinner: In the late spring, all R2's go out to dinner with the program directors to relax, have fun, and reflect on what's past and what lies ahead.
  • Resident Appreciation Day: Details vary from year to year, but don't be surprised to be served breakfast by the Department Chairs and the Program Director!
  • R3 Graduation: Faculty members, spouses, significant others, parents and families celebrate third year residents' graduation.
  • Annual Jeopardy Contest and Awards Ceremony: At the last Grand Rounds of each year, a resident team and a faculty team square off for a heated game of medical jeopardy. This is followed by our annual awards ceremony.